Lindsey Graham slams Trump-Russia FBI probe as 'one of the most corrupt in history' as he releases Senate transcripts
16th January 2021

LINDSEY Graham has slammed the FBI's probe into alleged links between Donald Trump and Russia as one of the "most corrupt" in history as he released interview transcripts from the Senate review.

Senator Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, released hundreds of pages of transcripts from the inquiry into the investigation which was dubbed "Crossfire Hurricane" by the FBI.

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The FBI's initial investigation looked into whether members of Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the election.

The probe was later turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report did not find proof of the conspiracy but did not exonerate Trump.

Mueller's probe found that Russia had attempted to interfere with the election to benefit Trump but could not determine whether there was collusion with the campaign.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, released the transcripts of interviews conducted with FBI and Justice department officials by the committee between March 3 and October 29, 2020.

Among revelations from the transcripts was the admission that the "dirty dossier" compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele was "obviously" political in nature.

The dossier contained salacious allegations including that Russia had compromising videos of Trump.

In a statement, Graham said: "I believe that Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ."

The senator added the committee had released "as much material as possible" – but said some material had been withheld as it was still "classified".

Graham slammed the leadership of the FBI under James Comey and Andrew McCabe, saying it was either "grossly incompetent" or they "knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds".

"There was a blind eye turned toward any explanation other than the Trump campaign was colluding with foreign powers," he said.

"At every turn the FBI and DOJ ran stop signs that were in abundance regarding exculpatory information."

Graham added: "I consider the Crossfire Hurricane investigation a massive system failure by senior leadership, but not representative of the dedicated, hardworking patriots who protect our nation every day at Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice."

The four-term senator said his probe and the interviews carried out will allow them to "chart a path" to reform the system.

He also raged at the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to issue survllience warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page – branding it a "travesty".

Steele's dossier was used as part of the evidence, despite questions being immediately raised over its authenticity and its political motivation.

"I mean, it was obvious," and FBI agent said when quizzed if the dossier was political in nature.

Graham said: "The only logical explanation is that the investigators wanted an outcome because of their bias."

A 2019 report from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General did not find evidence of political bias in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

However, it did slam "basic" errors in the FISA warrant applications to carry out survllience on Page.

US Attorney John Durham was appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General Bill Barr to launch an investigation into Crossfire Hurricane.

Trump had consistently raged over the FBI probe, repeatedly call for someone to "investigate the investigators".

Graham went on: "The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down.

"It is my hope that counterintelligence investigations will be reined in and this never happens again in America."

He added: "It is hard to believe that something like Crossfire Hurricane could have happened in America.

"The bottom line is that going forward we must have more checks and balances when it comes to political investigations. We must have more meaningful sign-offs on warrant applications, and we need to restore the trust to the American people in this system."

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